Being a CEO is a challenging job. You’re in charge of a company’s success and failures, and your time is always in demand. For many, it’s a 24/7 job that requires discipline, time management, and ruthless prioritization. And that’s where fitness comes in.
If you ask a CEO to list their most helpful productivity tips and chances are, one of those tips will involve breaking a sweat. Teri Citterman, a CEO and executive performance coach, tells Ladders that the stress of the job is precisely why so many CEOs make the time to have a fitness routine. “A lot of leaders have type AAA personality,” says Citterman, and as a result, they need an absolute outlet to release their pent-up energy so that it doesn’t turn into anger. “Working out is really one of those times where you are alone with yourself, not thinking about work, not thinking about the demands, and you have to have that time to regenerate.”
Here are the fitness habits that these 5 CEOs rely on to keep their physical and mental health in check.
The Virgin Group founder and 69-year old business magnate has been vocal about the importance that exercise plays in his life. He told CNBC Make It, “I love to look after my body. If I feel great, I can achieve anything.” Branson’s fitness routine involves a game of tennis in the morning, and sometimes another one in the evening. He’ll also do some weight lifting, and if he’s in Necker Island (which he owns), he’ll fit in some kite surfing in his daily routine.
2. Tim Cook
The Apple CEO reportedly utilizes exercise as a way to tamper his stress. He is known for being an early riser, getting up “just a little before 4 a.m.,” according to an interview he did with Axios On HBO. Cook goes to the gym for an hour because it keeps his “stress at bay,” after going through user comments—which is the first thing he does when he wakes up.
The billionaire talk-show host founded a production company that focuses on health and wellness content, so it’s no surprise that fitness is an integral part of her daily routine. According to an interview that she gave to The Hollywood Reporter in 2017, she hits her home gym about an hour after she wakes up. She told the magazine, “I’ll do 20 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes walking on the treadmill. I start out at the Level 3 incline settings and then every minute I add to the incline until I get to 12 or 15. And then I do sit-ups.” She then reportedly follows that up with 20 minutes of transcendental meditation.
4. Tyler Haney
As the founder and CEO of athleisurewear brand Outdoor Voices, movement is a crucial part of Haney’s daily routine. She told CNBC Make It that she performs her best when she starts her day by clearing her mind. “For me, mind-clearing comes from movement.” Haney’s morning routine includes swimming ten laps before starting her day at the Outdoor Voices office in Austin.
5. Jack Dorsey
The Twitter and Square CEO has one of the most elaborate, and some would say eccentric, health and fitness routine. As he revealed in an interview on the podcast Ben Greenfield Fitness, he starts the day with a hydrotherapy routine, where he alternates between sitting in a 220-degree sauna for 15 minutes and a 37-degree ice bath for 2 minutes. He does this cycle three times. For exercise, he walks to work and also regularly does a 7-minute high-intensity interval training workout. Dorsey is also a proponent of intermittent fasting.